Nice Guy: Episode 2
Who doesn’t like a heroine who can eat fried chicken and still do her job all from a hospital bed? Eun-ki’s really winning me over with her sass, even though little hints reveal that she’s not just the workaholic ice princess she tries to be. It makes for some really lively scenes whenever she comes into contact with Possibly-Evil Stepmother Jae-hee, and I’m just hoping that even with the future promise of amnesia, Eun-ki won’t lose her spark. Rock on, Eun-ki.
SONG OF THE DAY
Explosions In The Sky – “What Do You Go Home To?” [ Download ]
EPISODE 2 RECAP
If looks could kill, the one Maru sends Jae-hee’s way would be the end of her. He continues on until Eun-ki is stabilized, and leaves Jae-hee flustered and staring as he returns to coach class.
Only when he’s out of her sight does he stumble and struggle to catch his breath.
Once the plane lands, Jae-hee accompanies Eun-ki on her way to the hospital, still looking as though she’s seen a ghost.
Maru drives silently while Jae-gil chatters from the backseat, revealing that he knew the woman in first class was Jae-hee. He’d apparently tried to tell Maru that there’d been rumors of her marrying a businessman, but Maru went into such a rage that it was never mentioned again.
Jae-gil clucks his tongue at the fact that Jae-hee used to visit Maru in prison constantly, but her visits became less and less frequent over time until she finally stopped altogether.
However, he does seem to suspect Jae-hee as the perpetrator of the murder, once he considers Choco’s story that Maru went out to meet Jae-hee that fateful night. Plus, murder just doesn’t fit Maru’s character.
Maru finally slams on the breaks, and snaps back to Jae-gil that he’s not his personal chauffeur (since Jae-gil has been sitting in the back). I love that Jae-gil’s reaction is so innocent, since he just grew up so privileged, and is left totally bereft when Maru leaves the car because he doesn’t know how to drive. Hah.
Cue flashback of childhood Maru and Choco, and his first meeting with Jae-hee as she comes running, beaten and bruised, from a boy chasing her. Maru Lite tends to her wounds since his lifetime dream is to become a doctor, and they share introductions and smiles.
We fast forward a bit to their college years, with Jae-hee failing to hold in her envy over a rich girl with her eyes on Maru. That girl would be lucky to get a catch like him, which has Maru saying as casually as you please, “That catch. Can’t Noona grab hold of that catch?”
Taken by pleasant surprise, Jae-hee is practically giddy as she says yes, and makes him pinky promise never to betray her so that they’ll be together for a thousand years.
Back in the present, Maru sees a street stall and remembers the happy times he used to spend there with Jae-hee. He mentally kicks himself to snap out of it, reminding himself that there’s no returning to the past, and even then, he’s not the same Maru he once was.
He tells himself that from this moment on, it’s over. Now is the time to move on. He lets the past image of himself and Jae-hee walk away, and struggles not to look back.
It’s sort of funny when Joon-ha finds Eun-ki scarfing down some fried chicken while she digs into her workload, all from her hospital bed. Even though Maru saved her life, she harps on the fact that he wasn’t an actual doctor, and she could have died.
However, it seems that the reason she’s so upset about it is because she’s done her research and knows that her doctor impostor and Jae-hee have some sort of history.
She takes a call from one of her spies, reporting that Jae-hee took something close to one million dollars from the bank, and orders the man to see what Jae-hee uses that money for.
So Eun-ki’s spy follows Jae-hee as she heads back to her old neighborhood dressed to the nines and loaded down with gifts. She stops when she sees an image of her childhood self in front of Maru’s house, until her attention is drawn to the commotion happening outside.
He’s got an angry husband demanding to know Maru’s whereabouts, and Jae-gil calmly explains that it just isn’t possible that Maru would sleep with a married woman, since even gigolos have principles. The wife finally confesses that it was all a misunderstanding, and that she only had pictures of Maru on her phone. Unsurprisingly, Maru has a pretty large ajumma fan base.
No, I don’t quite know why Jae-gil breaks a plank of wood on his head, other than to seem more intimidating(?). In a funny turnabout, the wife wonders if she’ll be more available to Maru if she gets a divorce, which sends both her and her husband running out the gate. Good riddance.
Jae-hee asks Jae-gil if the cause of the fight was Maru, and seems almost indignant as she asks, “What is he doing with his life right now?”
Turns out he’s accompanying Choco to a doctor’s visit, and even though the doctor says she’s much better than before, she still mouths to Maru: “I’m still sick.”
She keeps making this point as they leave the hospital, and Maru seems used to this “I’m sick” song and dance. Once he tells her that she’s not allowed to go drinking or clubbing she bursts out that she should have just died back then.
Choco: “Oppa, you abandoned me back then! You were crazy for Jae-hee Unni and ruthlessly abandoned your sister who was sick. It’s your fault that I’m suffering such pain now. If I die, then it’s all your fault too!”
Even though she does have a point, something about her words makes this conversation seem oddly manipulative. Especially when she turns right back around and tells Oppa to give her a piggyback ride, since she’s tired from yelling at him.
Meanwhile, Jae-gil explains the whole gigolo thing to Jae-hee as being born out of necessity, especially with his father’s debt looming over him and Choco’s constant medical bills. Also, no one hires former convicts.
As Maru carries Choco home, Jae-gil explains that the only reason Maru is alive is because of Choco. But even so, he’s still dead inside. Interestingly enough, Jae-gil asks why God is so cruel to Maru, which is the same question she’d once posed to him.
She asks him why they haven’t moved out of the same old dump, and Jae-gil says that it’s because of her. Because Maru was worried that if he moved, Jae-hee might not be able to find him, so he waited every day. Oof. Do you feel like a boob, Jae-hee? You should be.
She’s gone by the time Maru gets home, and once Choco’s in bed Jae-gil hands him an envelope of money from Jae-hee, and that she said she was repaying her debt to him. Oof, times ten. It would have been less terrible if she’d given him nothing at all, but money? Harsh. Really, really harsh.
Maru grabs the envelope and goes running to try and catch up to Jae-hee, who’s broken one of her fancy heels (and the one-shoe deal is reminiscent of her first meeting with Maru).
When he doesn’t find her, he crushes the money in his fist.
Jae-hee’s already driving away, but she remembers the moment in the motel as well as a new part of the scene we haven’t seen, where Maru gave her his shirt and she’d hugged him as she swore that she’d repay the debt for the rest of her life.
And in the present, she sits hunched over the steering wheel in her parked car, just taking it all in.
Eun-ki is in the yard to greet Jae-hee when she arrives home, and explains that she snuck out of the hospital. Her tone is icy even through her forced smile, as she asks Jae-hee what gave her the right to let a med school dropout take care of her.
Her tone turns even icier when she asks why Jae-hee gave almost a million dollars to that same dropout, which has Jae-hee surprised. I like that Eun-ki doesn’t mince words and explains upfront that she’s had spies tailing Jae-hee ever since her own mother was pushed out of the house which, presumably, caused her premature death.
“I’m going to get revenge,” Eun-ki informs her. “I’m going to find your weakness and kick you out just as my mom was kicked out.”
Jae-hee tries to counter that her words are harsh, and I love that Eun-ki’s defense is that she’s the one playing fair by revealing her strategy, compared to Jae-hee, who she pretty much calls a deceptive snake. I’m likin’ Eun-ki’s metaphorical balls of steel.
When Eun-ki talks about releasing the photos of Jae-hee delivering money to Maru, Jae-hee tries to cover her tracks by saying she gave him the money out of gratitude for saving Eun-ki’s life, a thought which makes Eun-ki burst out in laughter. She doesn’t believe one word of it.
She beats Jae-hee at her own game by poking holes in her story, and easily shows how she could turn the situation around by claiming that Jae-hee paid Maru to kill her. Eun-ki: “There’s no need for you to get so worked up. I just think this rationale is more convincing.”
But Jae-hee brings out her claws and shows that she’s no wilting flower by lying to Eun-ki that Maru threatened her with the scandalous secret of Eun-ki getting slapped with a drug possession charge seven years ago.
Whoa. This is a side of Jae-hee we haven’t seen, and she’s just as icy as Eun-ki as she turns the tables and not-so-subtly threatens her with outing that possibly damning secret. It’s a regular blackmail-a-palooza up in here.
We get a peek into the drug incident in question, where it turns out that Eun-ki took the fall for a friend (or boyfriend) who promised to use his dad’s influence to help her company’s financial situation. Iiinteresting.
Back in the present, she gives that same man a call, and can hear the sound of his wife and baby on the other end. That knowledge seems to hurt her, but she tamps it down to retain her cool facade.
She tells him that she didn’t take the fall for him in order to save her father’s company, but because she loved him. And we can totally see that flash of vulnerability on her face, which makes it all the more tragic. Obviously her former boyfriend was/is a tool, and she says as much before she hangs up.
When he calls her back, Eun-ki drops her phone into an aquarium. Good for her.
It’s raining out, and Maru picks up a call from Jae-gil, who’s happy as a clam with a girl under his arm. He claims he’ll be gone for a week, which Maru just shrugs off.
Am I the only one who finds it a little weird that Eun-ki’s family dinner includes two lawyers? After her father gets carted off in a wheelchair, Eun-ki shares an almost mischievous glance with Joon-ha before she drops the bomb: she’s reported Maru to the police, for threatening Jae-hee, thus trapping her in her lie.
Oooh, I love this odd couple and their clever game of one-upmanship. I love that Joon-ha is totally on Eun-ki’s side, and that they coordinated this together. Heck, I just love that Eun-ki won this round, which means I’m firmly in her corner.
Maru finally works up the nerve to return Jae-hee’s money, but he can’t bring himself to ring the doorbell and plops it in the mailbox instead, with a note.
A call from a frantic Choco sends him running home – the police have arrived. They inform him that Han Jae-hee has brought blackmail charges against him and place him under arrest, which has got to be like a kick to the family jewels.
Choco runs after them in the rain, begging the police not to take her Oppa. Maru tries to calm her hysterics, but she pulls out the tried-and-true “So what if I die?” card, which finally brings Maru to a breaking point.
“Then die,” Maru says coldly, catching Choco by surprise. I wonder what it’d take to have him really lose his cool.
Jae-hee has to go to the police station to confirm her statement with Maru, an idea that has her wringing her hands. When Maru’s brought into the room he just levels this look at her – a mixture of hurt and resignation – that says volumes more than words.
The policeman present asks her if her claim was true, and after a looong pause, Jae-hee steels herself. “The man sitting in front of me has threatened my family.” Ouch. I know where she’s coming from, having been trapped in her lie and all, but she had a long time to think about whether she should throw Maru under the bus. And then she did. That makes this all even crueler.
As this hits home, we hear Maru in voiceover: “I was planning on understanding you. I know that I no longer have the right to have Noona anymore. That Noona and I now belong to entirely different worlds. Because I knew that more than anything else in this world, even if you didn’t go this far, I was planning to forget you, Noona. Even if you didn’t go this far, I was planning on sending you, Han Jae-hee, to the person you wanted to go to.”
Someone needs to knock some sense into this boy. Regardless, he remains completely silent, which the police take as a confession to his crime.
And of course, once Jae-hee gets home, she’s handed the envelope of money Maru returned to her. Upstairs, Dad is tearing Eun-ki a new one, not for sending her stepmother to the police station, but over business matters.
They both have pretty different opinions on unions, with Dad being 100% against them and Eun-ki willing to cooperate, provided the result is mutually beneficial. Dad even shatters a glass in a rage, cutting Eun-ki’s cheek in the process. Which she takes like a boss. No surprise there.
He tells Eun-ki that he won’t give his precious company to someone who can’t protect it, and voices her worst fears – that Jae-hee and Eun-suk can fill her spot if needed. “If you can’t handle it, run away,” Dad yells. “Run away like your mother.” Wait, what? Dad thinks Mom just… left?
Later, Jae-hee checks in on Eun-ki, now sporting a cheek bandage. Eun-ki already knows all about the mini hearing, and says that due to the lack of evidence or confession, Maru could get out scot-free.
However, Eun-ki doesn’t plan on letting him go that easy. We see Jae-hee’s inner word-that-rhymes-with-witch come out as she tells Eun-ki that the money was returned to her – after all, Maru failed to kill Eun-ki. (In this super complicated hypothetical situation/lie.)
Jae-hee thinks she’s putting Eun-ki in her place by threatening her with the drug scandal, and knows that one-third of the board opposes Eun-ki’s succession, because they think she’s weak. Which, really? Have they met her?
Eun-ki’s smile stays frosty as she lets Jae-hee get in a few more parting jabs. I’m guessing the payback will be on a scorched earth level.
Maru gets to cool his heels in jail for the night while Jae-hee gets to read bedtime stories to her son. As for Eun-ki, she burns the midnight oil at work and drinks alcohol straight from the bottle. That’s just plain impressive. (Don’t do this in real life, folks.)
He’s released the next morning, only Choco is nowhere to be found. A local ajumma tells him that Choco fainted in the rain and was taken to the hospital.
Maru is by her bedside in no time, but he can’t stop thinking about the harsh words he said to her. When he takes her hand, he also remembers her blaming her sickness on him abandoning her. A different, harsher look crosses his features, like he’s found new resolve.
Eun-ki’s cool enough to go on a dirt-biking excursion, though she’s soon joined by another rider. It’s a pretty cool action/scenic jaunt, even though the other faceless rider crashes, and Eun-ki’s breaks stop working as she veers dangerously close to the edge of a cliff.
She tries and fails to skid to a halt, and the dirt bike falls over the edge while she hangs from a jutting branch. She starts losing her grip…
And strangely enough, the other rider is revealed to be Maru, and he arrives just in time to grab hold of her hand.
I have no idea what was happening in that last scene, but I’m pretty excited to find out. At least, I doubt a “Whoops, I just happened to be dirt-biking on the same scenic route as you” will suffice.
This episode was a little light on the Maru and heavy on the Eun-ki, but you won’t find me complaining. I like that our two main characters are getting enough time to be fleshed out as individuals before we end up seeing them collide, which is a rare thing in the whole Fated To Be aspect of the dramaverse. Sure, some freaky coincidences put Jae-hee back in Maru’s orbit, but all their decisions from the end of the plane ride have come from choice, and not Fate, which is refreshingly nice to see.
I’m guessing that we’re either in for a dramatic reveal later that will somehow try to justify Jae-hee’s behavior, or that she’s just lost her humanity. Because while I believed her wide-eyed innocence, it just took that one moment of her going stone cold to Eun-ki in order to shake up my entire perception of her.
Granted, Eun-ki is capable of turning her bitchiness off and on too, but she seems much more honest about her actions as opposed to Jae-hee, who made that jump from wide-eyed and wondering to cold and calculating like she was flipping on a light switch. That takes a different kind of character, and a different level of deceptiveness, than someone like Eun-ki.
I started out with a somewhat mild level of understanding for Jae-hee, just waiting to see a justification for her actions, but the confession scene pretty much killed that hope. Deliberating over her decision to damn Maru further for the longest time didn’t do much to help her cause, since that just means that even with careful thought, Jae-hee will do wrong.
Maru is no knight in shining armor either, which makes for some rich (if not sometimes frustrating) character conflict. I wasn’t really annoyed with him doing the whole “I’ll take the fall for Noona” bit, but his inner monologue about how he was going to forgive and forget nearly had me climbing up the walls. Is there a limit to how much this boy can be stepped on before he fights back, or is he destined to remain a beautiful doormat?
If Eun-ki does get to stay the way she is, I hope she teaches Maru a thing or two about toughing it up. Then again, she also has a painful history of self-sacrifice-gone-awry along with a healthy dose of daddy issues, so maybe the two of them aren’t so different after all.
But really, Maru, I’m just trying to get on your level. You have to help me help you.